Sources of Hindu Ethical Studies: A Critical Review

Journal of Religious Ethics 9 (2):186 - 198 (1981)
Hindu ethical studies, as a discipline distinct from religious and philosophical studies and as a field of descriptive ethics within comparative ethical studies, is a relatively recent venture. Scholars have focused upon classical Sanskritic texts for the basis of their studies, ignoring, for the most part, the rich source of commentaries on Hindu scriptures that form what Smith has called "the cumulative tradition." Furthermore, the most urgent need in the field of Hindu ethical studies is to establish definitional and methodological clarity. Putting aside problems of method for later consideration, this paper explores the richness and variety of sources for the study of Hindu ethics and emphasizes the importance of integrating the study of theoretical ethics with the "lived" moralities that continue to dominate Indian society.
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